Norfolk has the largest colony of Grey and Common Seals in the UK with the number increasing each year. From late October to February the beach at Horsey becomes home to thousands of Grey Seals, also known as Atlantic Seals, to have their pups (babies).
Only one pup is born to each Cow (mother) who feeds their newborn for 2-3 weeks before leaving it to mate again before returning to the water. A pup puts on 2kg while it is being fed by its mother. Pups are born with a yellow-tinted fur which turns white and when they are a little older their fur will shed to a waterproof coat. Eventually hunger will push them into the sea.
Friends of Horsey Seals patrol keep watch on the seals, educating visitors and counting the number of pups born. In the 2019/20 season 2,316 pups were born, 200 more than the previous year, while over 2,000 were born in the 2020/21. Over the last few years as the colony has grown, the seals have moved down the coast towards Winterton.
The beach is cordoned off so people don’t disturb the seals but you can have an amazing view from the dunes and snap a picture of the cute pups from a safe distance.
If you go to visit the seals please make sure to keep your distance! This is not only for not only the seal’s protection but also yours as the mums will attack if they feel their baby is threatened, plus if the mum smells ‘humans’ on the pup they will abandon it regardless of its age which can be fatal.
Please, also keep dogs on leads, as in the past baby seals have been attacked and forced into the sea before they are ready by dogs!
The British Marnine Life Rescue have great resources about protecting our marine wildlife and be called to help a seal in need. Visit WWW.BDMLR.ORG.UK or call their rescue hotline 01825 765546.